A Visit to the Kilauea Lighthouse
The 3rd time is the charm, they say, and on our 3rd visit to the Kilauea Lighthouse a couple of weeks ago we were finally able to get close, and to go inside. I’ve been fascinated with lighthouses for years, having spent so much time in New England, so it was quite a treat to take a 30 minute guided tour (15 people only) of this one, easily seen from our villa about 2 miles away across the ocean in Princeville.
The lighthouse is located in the Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge several miles from the main road, Kuhio Highway.
I sure don’t remember all the details of what the tour guide shared and you can read more about the Kilauea Lighthouse history here. The light is no longer working, having been decommissioned back around 1976 but there is a powerful LED light on a platform by the lighthouse that can be seen for miles (the original light could be seen for 90 miles). Their new visitor center, also a fun and informative place to tour, was built in 1988.
Interestingly, the site on this peninsula was purchased from the Kilauea Plantation Sugar Company for just $1, and the lighthouse was dedicated in 1913 following complex construction that took about a year and 4 years of planning – all supplies had to be brought to the site by boat and hoisted up to the site 100 feet up with a boom derrick they had to construct.
It was cool to climb the 2 circular flights of stairs, see the 360 degree views from near the top (you can’t go up to the very top where the lens is but we could get pretty close to see it), and on a pretty hot day to enjoy the breezes through the circular air vents. The lens is French-made (Barbier, Benard & Turenne), and all the instructions for assembly were in French, so that meant finding someone on the island who spoke and read French to translate!
The views of the setting from the hills are stunning, as are the views from the setting itself of the lush island, the ocean, and hundreds of birds that nest on the hillside. It’s a pretty popular attraction and well worth a visit…the cost is $5 which includes the tour. Open 10 – 4 Tuesday through Saturday. I believe tours of the lighthouse are only Wednesday and Saturday.